Following its release in Japan back in 2021, Maglam Lord has now made its way to the West courtesy of publisher PQube, bringing with it an action-RPG experience that blends a few other genres into the mix to spice things up. This isn’t your typical ‘save the world’ kind of adventure though, but one where you’re meant to be the bad guy who wants to restore their demonic powers.
What does that consist of? Forging relationships with other characters, heading out on romantic dates, and exploring small landscapes whilst beating up baddies, of course. Yeah, Maglam Lord doesn’t make you feel TOO evil playing as the baddie, but it does still offer an alright adventure for players to embark on.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Maglam Lord puts players in the role of the devilishly named Killizerk, a demon (who can be male or female depending upon your choice) that finds themselves in a battle against some immortal gods. Don’t fancy those odds, right? Well, Killizerk is defeated, but not killed; instead, they fall down to Earth where they’re left in a long, long slumber. They awaken many years later, but with the world a different place and their powers almost vanquished. Better go beat up some monsters to get those powers back then, right?
What follows is a quirky but charming adventure that’s easy to find yourself wrapped up in thanks to Maglam Lord’s visual novel setup. The game never takes itself too seriously, but with its cast of likable characters and genuinely intriguing scenarios, I still found myself invested in the story until the end. There’s even room for the player to make certain dialogue choices along the way, with each not only affecting the gameplay in little ways but also affecting the relationship Killizerk shares with certain characters and helping determine what ending they’ll get. Whilst I’ll admit I’ve only had one playthrough so far, I wouldn’t be against playing Maglam Lord again and seeing how things change up – especially since it’s not too long, with my playthrough coming in at just under twelve hours.
There’s also room for a bit of romance within the game’s narrative, with players able to head out on dates with their allies in-game. Again, it’s another quirky element of the game, but it’s one that kept me entertained thanks to how silly the dates could be. You shouldn’t expect full-blown romance here, but hey, it’s nice to see some sparks can fly between a demon and humans and it adds an extra dose of quirky fun to the overall experience.
“The game never takes itself too seriously, but with its cast of likable characters and genuinely intriguing scenarios, I still found myself invested in the story until the end.”
Whilst Maglam Lord’s narrative is charming and fun, the gameplay could be a bit hit-and-miss. In many ways it plays like your typical action-RPG, with players exploring dungeons, finding items and treasure, and battling enemies, so it has all of the basics. However, some slightly dull dungeon design can make exploration feel a bit monotonous over time, whilst combat can also feel a bit too grindy and repetitive.
Battles take place over a 2D plane, with the player not controlling Killizerk, but instead one of their allies. Killizerk isn’t powerful enough to fight yet, so they take on the form of weapon that’s then used to dish out combos and deal some hurt to enemies. The problem is, combat is very basic, with players simply mashing the attack button and occasionally jumping around or defending incoming attacks. There are special abilities that change up based upon the character you play as, but they don’t offer anything that really felt like it brought a strong element of strategy to the game – in fact, I often found it easier to ignore them and simply keep relying on mashing the attack button. There is a meter you can fill that allows you to unleash Killizerk’s powers to give yourself a more deadly form, but its use never felt necessary to succeed (even if it was pretty cool).
I wouldn’t say that I disliked Maglam Lord’s combat because I didn’t get bored beating up enemies, whilst being able to craft new weaponry to use in battle did add a satisfying sense of progress to it all. Boss battles were a lot more interesting too, and whilst they rarely upped the challenge at all, they did force me to adapt to a more advanced move set where I couldn’t rely on mashing out attacks alone. It just lacked that special *something* to really hook me in, whilst the game’s reliance on grinding battles to progress meant that you will find yourself fighting the same battles over and over on a regular basis. It’d be something if the side quests gave you some interesting tasks to complete, but no, it’s your typical ‘kill these enemies’ or ‘gather these items’ kind of affair.
“Boss battles were a lot more interesting too, and whilst they rarely upped the challenge at all, they did force me to adapt to a more advanced move set where I couldn’t rely on mashing out attacks alone.”
Visually, Maglam Lord is a mixed bag. When it comes to the visual novel-style sequences, it looks great, with some impressive art on show that’s full of detail and colour. It made it easier to appreciate the story and the different characters you meet, whilst the variety of quality locales kept things interesting.
When it comes to actual gameplay though, it was hard not to feel a little underwhelmed by the 3D visuals. Again, nothing is bad, but it’s all very simple and lacks the charm found in the artwork of the visual novel-style scenes. I also noticed that there could be a few hitches in the frame rate during some of the more action-orientated sequences in combat, and whilst it didn’t hinder the gameplay too much, it was still noticeable.
Maglam Lord Review
Maglam Lord has its strengths with its fun narrative and impressive artwork, but some dull exploration and repetitive combat do stop it from being an essential RPG release. That’s not to say it’s a bad game and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have fun playing through it, but the gameplay did lack that special *something* to make it feel more than ordinary.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4